Arts of the Pamlico brings back holiday homes tour

Published 8:18 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Holiday Tour of Homes is back with a new slate of homes dressed to the Christmas nines.

Arts of the Pamlico took a break from the event last year, but now, with the help of sponsors The Rich Company, have reinstated the self-guided homes tour on Dec. 2.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., ticket holders will be able to tour eight Washington homes, including one of Washington’s most notable: Elmwood.

The event has proven quite popular, drawing guests from in and out of town, according to homes tour organizer Virginia Finnerty.

“The attraction is in seeing the homes,” Finnerty said. “They like seeing inside the homes, because they’re beautiful homes, but they also like to see the way people decorate, because they have different styles — people have different collections.”

COASTAL CHARM: The Moss Landing Harbor Home of David and Julie Howdy, recently featured in Washington The Magazine, will be a highlight of this year’s Holiday Tour of Homes. (Beacon Street)

AOP volunteers, dressed in period costumes, will be staged at each of the eight homes. The tour starts at The Rich Company, where cider and cookies will be served and owners Tom and Georgia Atkins’ collection of nutcrackers will be on display.

On West Main Street in the Washington downtown historic district, there’s the circa-1820 Elmwood, the home of former Beaufort County Clerk of Court Tom Payne and Sue Nicholson’s home, which is part of the old Tayloe Hospital complex, now repurposed into condominiums. On the east side of the historic district is the home of Vann and Colleen Knight — winners of one of this year’s three Terrell Awards for their restoration work; the waterfront Moss Landing home of David and Julie Howdy; and the East Second Street gem that Scot Craigie and Simuel Hodges have restored. Outside of the downtown area are three more stops: the Atkins Drive homes of Alice and Donald Sadler and Allison Harris, as well as the Washington Racquet Club.

Finnerty said all of the tour destinations are new to the tour with the exception of Elmwood, which has since changed ownership, and purpose, since the last time it was featured. Elmwood is now a bed and breakfast and event venue, as opposed to a private residence.

“I think Elmwood will be interesting, going from (former owners) the Stallings to Richard (Smoot) and John (Butler),” Finnerty said. “Their style is just dramatically different.”

She also noted Payne’s Christmas collection, which is immense and follows his interests: his love of England and visits there have resulted in a collection of ornaments related to the British crown, and his love of politics is reflected in another collection of official White House ornaments, according to Finnerty.

“He puts up at least three or four Christmas trees. The amount of ornaments is amazing. You can just stand there and stare at the trees for a long time,” Finnerty laughed.

WHITE CHRISTMAS: Sue Nicholson traded her home on Bath Creek for city living at this condominium. Nicholson’s Christmas theme last year was a white Christmas. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

In addition to the tour itself, each ticket holder is entered into a drawing for a large gift basket filled with items from Washington merchants, and special discounts at select Washington restaurants will be offered, as well, Finnerty said.

“There’ll be offerings from all the restaurants, not just on Main Street, we’re getting participation from restaurants all over town,” Finnerty said.

Proceeds from the Holiday Tour of Homes will go to Arts of the Pamlico. The event will be held the same day as the Washington Christmas parade.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call Arts of the Pamlico at 252-946-2054.